Tapestry of Faith: Families: A Jr. High School Youth Program that Explores the Diversity, Commonality, and Meaning of Families

Introduction to Workshop 1

Part of Families

The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.

- Anatole France , The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard

The first three sessions of this program introduce participants to the topic of families. The process raises participants' awareness of what they already know, think, and feel about families. It allows them to safely examine preconceived notions and stereotypes about families and then look at families anew. Developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky said that all good education stems from "making the familiar unfamiliar and making the unfamiliar familiar." In these sessions, participants uncover not only what they know about families, but also how they think about families.

This program explores families through venues that are based in the central tenets of UU faith. The focus is on what matters to and about families. The program first examines the composition of families and then moves on to how they function. This shift sets the stage for participants' project work—trying to understand families in their congregation. By thinking about family function, participants move beyond accepting simple appearances toward empathic inquiry. Focusing on family function and respecting families as matters of the heart will empower youth to ask the people they photograph more about what they think and feel about their families.

Session 1 introduces participants to each other, to the photo-documentary project, and to the focus on families. After an introduction to the project, participants create a covenant that will guide their future work together. The rest of the session includes an activity that will help participants begin to think more about families.


Participants will:

  • Collaborate with peers
  • Broaden and deepen understandings and definitions of families
  • Understand and appreciate the emotional, affective, and spiritual dimensions of families
  • Grow and deepen their naturally compassionate souls
  • Understand how the living tradition of the UU faith and its Principles interprets and guides families

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Start to build a respectful community, with structures for order and freedom that facilitate participants' full engagement
  • Begin to explore dimensions and functions of families
  • Uncover their own ideas about families
  • Learn about the photo-documentary project